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Cucurbita pepo

Phonetic Spelling
koo-KER-bih-ta PEP-oh
Description

Cucurbita pepo, commonly referred to as acorn squash, is a sprawling vine with yellow fruit-bearing flowers. The fruits have a mild flavor and can be fried, baked, added to pasta, used in soups, and more. Native to North America, acorn squash is an aggressive grower and prefers moderately moist soil with full access to sunlight. To maximize growth add compost material to the surrounding soil in late fall. Mulching around the squash aids with retaining moisture and reducing competition. 

Acorn squash is best suited for large landscapes, but performs well in vegetable gardens, on trellises, and as a cover for exposed soil.  It is easily sown from seed, especially when soils are warm. Cucurbita pepo should be transplanted in late spring, early summer, or after the last frost. 

Pests, Insects, and Other Plant Problems: Slugs, aphids, and beetles

 

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Edibles, Bulbs, and Houseplants" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.   

More information on Cucurbita.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscapes:
Vegetable Garden- Containers Vegetable No-Till Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • var. Cylindrica
    Zucchini Squash
var. Cylindrica
Tags:
#showy flowers#full sun#annual#edible plant#easy to grow#wildlife plant#showy#yellow flowers#edible flowers#large leaves#mass planting#high maintenance#seeds#moist soil#fast growing#herbaceous#easy to transplant#full sun flowers#organic soils#vines#full sunlight#vegetable garden#herbaceous vine#large spaces#prickly#edible landscaping#attractive foliage#coarse#rich soil#annuals#groundcover#annual flowers#edible fruits#sunshine#vegetable#edible garden#vertical spaces#edible#herbaceous annual#annual vegetable#vine#seed#warm season vegetable#wildlife plants#wildlife#sun tolerant#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#edible fruit#moist#non-toxic for cats#large
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • var. Cylindrica
    Zucchini Squash
var. Cylindrica
Tags:
#showy flowers#full sun#annual#edible plant#easy to grow#wildlife plant#showy#yellow flowers#edible flowers#large leaves#mass planting#high maintenance#seeds#moist soil#fast growing#herbaceous#easy to transplant#full sun flowers#organic soils#vines#full sunlight#vegetable garden#herbaceous vine#large spaces#prickly#edible landscaping#attractive foliage#coarse#rich soil#annuals#groundcover#annual flowers#edible fruits#sunshine#vegetable#edible garden#vertical spaces#edible#herbaceous annual#annual vegetable#vine#seed#warm season vegetable#wildlife plants#wildlife#sun tolerant#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#edible fruit#moist#non-toxic for cats#large
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cucurbita
    Species:
    pepo
    Family:
    Cucurbitaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    North America
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Easy to Grow
    Edible fruit
    Wildlife Food Source
    Climbing Method:
    Tendrils
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Edible
    Ground Cover
    Vegetable
    Vine
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Coarse
    Appendage:
    Tendrils
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Cream/Tan
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Orange
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    Variegated
    White
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    A type of berry called a pepo that has a hard rind. Fruits may be long or round, large or small, smooth or warty– some have edible flesh and some are too hard or insipid to eat, though the seeds of all are edible. Has a harder, thicker stem compared to other species.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Solitary
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Funnel
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    5-parted yellow flowers. Monecious, with separate male and female flowers on the same plant.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Prickly
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Peltate
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Large, simple leaves. Alternate with palmate lobing and venation, often 3-7 lobes.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Dark green
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Vertical Spaces
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Design Feature:
    Mass Planting
    Small groups